Brog's Blog

December 8, 2010

Oh, the Humanity

Filed under: All Posts — brogsblog @ 4:13 pm

Last week, a forest fire began burning in Israel’s Carmel mountain region. Given the dry brush and the heavy winds, it spread more quickly and unpredictably than past fires.

Israel’s prison bureau began to worry about the fate of the approximately 400 inmates at the Damon Prison, perilously close to the path of these flames. Authorities dispatched a bus filled with newly trained prison guards to move the prisoners to safety. But the unpredictable inferno soon shifted direction, and fanned across the very road these would-be rescuers were traveling. The bus caught fire, and forty prison guards were burned alive.


Photo taken by friend of CUFI and military analyst Elliot Chodoff.

Almost all of the prisoners at Damon Prison were Palestinians arrested for endangering Israel’s security. Israel sent its best young recruits into the path of the flames to save them because this is what civilized societies do. The fact that it’s impossible to imagine Hezbollah or Hamas doing likewise to save Israelis tells us something important about Israel’s enemies. Far from trying to prevent Israeli deaths, they seek and celebrate them. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah demonstrated this ugly reality once again when he gloated that the forest fires were “plagues from God.” He added that, “Allah is punishing them [the Israelis] from a place they did not expect it.”


Yet Israel’s adherence to basic humanitarian principles was not entirely without reciprocation. When Israel sent out an urgent request for international aid to help it fight this unprecedented blaze, the help came pouring in. And among those sending aid were Israel’s Arab neighbors – Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority – as well as Muslim Turkey, with which relations have been greatly strained in recent months.

The fact that these nations took concrete steps to help Israel battle this fire is significant. In so doing, they recognized a shared humanity between Arabs and Israelis, Muslims and Jews. These gestures of friendship recalled those precious past moments when peace and mutual recognition seemed so very possible. In this aid we saw a faint reflection of the hope that was sparked when Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat spoke of peace before the Israeli Knesset, or when Jordan’s King Hussein asked forgiveness from the mothers of Israelis killed by a rogue Jordanian border guard.

Yet these gestures remain bittersweet. The fact that they are even noteworthy bespeaks the long distance the remains to be traversed before true peace and reconciliation is possible. It is one thing to say that Jews are people whose lives matter as much as anyone else’s. Yet it is quite another to say that Jews are a people entitled to national sovereignty like all others. The humanitarian recognition is a prerequisite to nonviolence, and it is a low bar which too many of Israel’s enemies fail to clear. But the national recognition is a prerequisite to lasting peace. And this is a higher bar upon which even Israel’s partners in cold peace too often stumble.

Yes, Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with Israel. Yes, the Palestinian Authority is in principle committed to negotiations with Israel. Yet none of these governments speak with conviction of a Jewish people having national rights in their ancient land. These regimes have made peace treaties, but their people remain cold, aloof, and angry. These authorities sent aid, but their streets still celebrated the fires. After monitoring the internet chatter about the fire on the websites of supposedly moderate Arab publications, journalist Khaled Abu Toameh concluded that, “The overwhelming majority of talkbacks … showed how many Arabs and Muslim continue to dream about the destruction of Israel.”

It seems that just when we get the most discouraged, Israel’s Arab neighbors sometimes take action that keeps hope alive. It is in the name of this hope that Israel must continue to not only dream of peace, but to explore every practical path towards achieving it. Perhaps the recognition of Jews as humans and brothers can be the start of recognizing them as a nation entitled to sovereignty like every other. But like the fires that ravaged the Galilee, the hate that lives on in so many Arab hearts can be sparked and spread uncontrollably at the slightest provocation. Until these underlying conditions change, Israel’s leaders are wise to hope, but verify.

David Brog is the executive director of Christians United for Israel and author of a new book, In Defense of Faith: The Judeo-Christian Idea and the Struggle for Humanity.  You can follow David on Facebook by clicking here and on Twitter by clicking here.



  1. I already “follow” you on FB but is there a way I can “share” the blog articles there as well or do I just have to copy/paste the link?
    Excellent article by the way!

    Comment by Dena — December 8, 2010 @ 9:00 pm


    Comment by DR. WOODALL — December 8, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

  3. I am always amazed to hear that people actually believe that “Jews aren’t people” Jesus was/is a Jew.
    Israel is a Nation under God Almighty that is home to some of the greatest minds in the world. God Bless Israel and keep her safe.

    Comment by Brenda Kyle — December 8, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

  4. It is amazing that those who claim to hate Israel will still step up and do the greater good, only to look down at their people and see them celebrating the disaster. Such is the fight between God’s Chosen People and satan.

    God’s Word calls for us to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem. The Church I attend has it listed on the prayer list every Sunday.

    Comment by Laura Bunyard — December 8, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

  5. For those of us and those we will reach, we know what the Lord has said, and what will come, so lets all get on our knees and pray for our enmies that they will feel the hand of the Lord and become better humans, and lets always pray for everyone. Thank-you Lord Jesus fo your love.

    Comment by Jacki — December 8, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  6. I will remain in prayer for the rise of Israel! God is good and he is faithfull to those who keep his commandments so I am resting on the promise that he will turn this around to favor his people. May God continue to do a mighty work within your walls. Amen.

    Comment by leah harris — December 8, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

  7. GOD bless Israel and peace 2 all who love her, cas,

    Comment by evangelist cas sowinski — December 8, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

  8. I was so sad and embarrassed when a friend in Israel emailed me to tell me that Prime Minister Netanyahu had to RENT from or pay the United States for a plane to use to stop that fire. I beleive that obama and clinton and the rest of the anti-semites in our government will have to answer to Jesus one day. I pray daily for the IDF and for the Peace of Jerusalem.

    Comment by Judy — December 8, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

  9. i lost so many Brother Firefighters on 911 as i watched and wept on a prison bunk, imprisoned for trying to protect my family from an american terrorist, n now i weep for more Brother Firefighters, rest in peace, i will see You in Heaven, cas,

    Comment by evangelist cas sowinski — December 8, 2010 @ 10:44 pm

  10. Israel is the heart of God and I constantly see the blessings to all nations that Israel is. Unfortunately I also know that according to the Bible her future is bleak but Christ will save her.
    To all my Israeli brothers and sisters continue to stand strong God is for you, so really ,who can be against you. There are many of us who pray the peace of Israel on a constant basis. To I declare peace and prosperity in your home land and around the world. Especially those that are impoverished in the former USSR.
    Gods Love to all of you reading this.
    Jesus is Lord

    Comment by Dennis — December 8, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

  11. What has surprised me concerning the fire is that I have heard nothing on TV news and that the USA has not sent help. For an alleged Christian Nation, there seem to be so very few politians or news media who know the scriptures say that God blesses those who help Israel and condemns those who don’t. If we did not send any help, I apologize for my country. God loves Israel and so do I.

    Comment by Jeanette Pedersen — December 8, 2010 @ 10:52 pm

  12. I am a Jew and a very proud member of CUFI.To me CUFI is one large family helping the Jewish people and Israel. As a 73 year old Holocaust survivor it brings tears of happiness when ever I read about my Christian Brothers at CUFI. I am willing to speak in any school in Queens, Brooklyn or Nassau County to children as a Holocaust survivor. Adults are welcome too lol. CUFI has my Email address.
    God bless you all

    Comment by Paul Heimler — December 9, 2010 @ 1:54 am

  13. I’m contributing to the expenses of the fire, if Netanyahu has to pay or rent the planes to help extinguish the fire and help the restoration, I have and will continue to contribute as God allows me. Obama will have much to answer for, here and in the hereafter, if this is true that he was not generous with our ally, Israel.

    Comment by Spanihs Eyes — December 9, 2010 @ 2:57 am

  14. Although I cannot offer any financial assistance at this time for these individuals in need, I may be able to offer some other help. Please look up an individual Canadian inventor with the last name Hurtubise. He has an enviro friendly paste that can at least save building and thus some homes and money for the people.

    Comment by John Bourget — December 9, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  15. I pray for Israel everyday, i’m a christian and the one thing that this world has forgotten is that Israel is the only nation that recieved it’s sovernty directly from GOD Himself!! May God bless Israel today and forever!

    Comment by Robert Morgan — December 9, 2010 @ 4:28 pm

  16. How sad, David, that you choose to use the occasion of a tragedy to make a political point, to “prove” how evil those who oppose the occupation are (“one can’t imagine Israel’s “enemies” showing the same kind of compassion”). I’m reminded here of Pat Robertson claiming that Ariel Sharon’s stroke was God’s judgment, turning a personal tragedy into political theater.

    I’m just glad that John Hagee chose not to say that this fire was somehow God’s judgment on Israel for some assumed political malfeasance as he is wont to do in other cases.

    A tragedy is a tragedy. Don’t use it to make political points.

    Comment by jbrinkmeyer — December 9, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

  17. BTW – why should America send “help?” Don’t we do enough by providing a billion dollars a year to Israel – more than we give to any other state even though Israel is by no means a poor country. Was Israel asking for our help? No. So why blame Obama for something that carries no reason for blame.

    The hatred represented on this blog is sometimes overwhelming.

    Comment by jbrinkmeyer — December 9, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

  18. God bless the Jewish people in their land. May He make Himself known to those that are our brothers. We, Christians, owe so much to the Hebrews. We have been grafted into the olive tree. May the Lord watch over His people and protect Israel from her enemies. Each day I pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Each Jewish person is precious to me. May wisdom reign and may Israel be recognized as a NATION that belongs to the descendants of Abraham. God bless!

    Comment by Eve V. — December 10, 2010 @ 4:56 am

  19. God has said hat He will makeour enemies to be at peace with us. He will, when least expected!

    Comment by Ann Williams — December 11, 2010 @ 12:53 am

  20. God is watching this was a test to America from God for the world to see if realy obama administration is suppotive to Israel the apple eye of God. am not judging anything but they have failed the test wait for your turn America but obama and them that are ganging up agaist Israel woe unto you for God will never befriend any man but he will hasten his word to perform it. Again America mostly to obama you have failed the test and no mercy about this matter God will unseat you from that throne and give it to whoever he wants you have totally failed the test.

    Comment by mizpah — December 14, 2010 @ 9:35 am


    Comment by Della Sinnock — December 14, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

  22. Okay, But: The sending of the prison guards was not heroism. When they were sent, it was believed that the road was safe. As to those Palestinian prisoners, many of them are children and many of them have been tortured and many of them are political prisoners, many of them have had their homes bulldozed and collectively they all suffer the injustice of having their homeland confiscated for the Zionist endeavor.

    As to the Jews right to a national homeland, Ashkenazim Jews are not the lineal descendants of the biblical era Jews and were not gifted that land by God. More, the Christian theology of Dispensation was inserted into Christianity by Zionists for the express purpose of garnering Christian support of a Jewish state. That was accomplished by the artifice of the Scofield Bible. Of which the copyright is held by the Jewish Oxford Press. Also, Scofield Bible is trademarked by the Jewish Oxford Press.


    Comment by Bitin Dawg — January 24, 2011 @ 1:45 am

  23. It’s sad CAS SOWINSKI being a fraud saying he is a jew and isn’t. He lives in a bus that is so called a ministry. It’s the state we live in people. People give Christian and JEWS a bad name. People who have a criminal record and want to use people it’s a sad world.

    Comment by Tracy — February 27, 2011 @ 8:07 am

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